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monsoon

Design for High Crime


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Are New Urbanist Neighborhoods plagued by Crime because of their design? This article would seem to suggest so. It is a very long article but a good read on the subject. And challenges many of the assumptions made about new urbanism. I will add that in the neighborhood that I wrote about in this thread crime has been a definate problem for the residents.

Crime-Friendly Neighborhoods

How

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As a libertarian, I was quite ashamed to read that Reason magazine article. I've met some people who work for Reason. They are very nice. But in this case, the author is not only dead wrong, the article suffers several horrendous flaws/innacuracies/blatant falshoods/omissions.

As CNU's rebuttal points out:

"'The 3,000-word article fails to mention a single New Urbanist community in the US that has increased crime ... Since nearly 500 sizable New Urbanist communities are under construction or built in the US ... why couldn't the authors come up with a single example...? The New Urbanism, after all, began the US more than 20 years ago."

It further goes on to mention the numerous public housing projects that were redesigned according to New Urbanist principles. Though previously havens for crime, the redesigned "new urbanist" public housing experienced an objective drop in crime.

Sometimes I think magazines like Reason get too carried away in their role as contrarians to various leftist orthodoxies. In other words, they know that many pro-urban/anti-sprawl people are flaming Socialists. Therefore, they take it upon themselves to attack any general cause the Socialists favor, whether the specific case actually runs contrary to capitalism or not. In this case, they totally missed the boat, as the New Urbanism is perhaps the most inherently pro-capitalist, pro-developer urban movement in existence. For example, if you've ever heard Andres Duany speak, it's quite clear that he is an economic conservative.

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Well though desity=more crime, no crime is impossible at this point in time.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Higher density does not mean more crime. And I am not sure why you bring up the issue in the first place because density and new urbanism are unrelated.

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Depending on the quality of the residents, higher density could mean more crime.

That's what I was thinking. Generally new urbanist communities though (the ones I know of) are for the middle class which to me would mean less crime.. :unsure:

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What an interesting topic. Most New Urbanist developments in my area consist of middle-high wealth projects, which weeds out riff raff. However, whenever anything (no matter how expensive) is built in a dense, urban environment, riff raff will linger nearby.

In West Palm Beach, we have world class shopping and $300,000 lofts just blocks from crack town. :)

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In West Palm Beach, we have world class shopping and $300,000 lofts just blocks from crack town. :)

That's part of what's great about urban America!

Well, not the fact that crack town exists, but that wealthier and less wealthy are less geographically removed from one another in our revitalizing cities than had been the trend through most of the 20th century. I just hope we don't turn out cities into Paris.

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The issue is more about defensible space as a design paradigm than new urbanism as planning technique. Whether its transit oriented development, green communities, or exurban paradises, crime can only be mitigated by calculated approaches to overall safety; defensible space being a cornerstone.

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The issue is more about defensible space as a design paradigm than new urbanism as planning technique. Whether its transit oriented development, green communities, or exurban paradises, crime can only be mitigated by calculated approaches to overall safety; defensible space being a cornerstone.

This so called "defensible space" design paradigm has no business in a new urban discussion. Personally I believe terms like "defensible space" are fear mongering terms instigated by airport security minded entreprenuers looking for community business. Like the architecture crime in new urban communities is solved organically and not by outsourced secarchitects.

In my inner city new urban neighborhood there is a crime problem that is thoughtfully being cured, avoided and displaced. Individuals and not policy are making change which allows for balance. Algorithm and best practices can not involve the community. Big plans, big thinking just like big roofs can not be used to cookie cut the new urban neighborhood.

I imagine one of those newly developed "shiney new urban" commnunites would be a great audience for defensible space and articles like this would surely get nods of approval from everyone in the community.

Brad

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I don't really think it's a formula for crime. Naturally, these are more upscale communities for the most part, and that money attracts crime, but it's not the layout or concept of them per se that breeds the crime.

A formula for crime would be the massive Projects built in the '40's-'60's, the most notorious of which were the late Robert Taylor homes in Chicago. Lax screening, lots of concrete with little or no open green space, few amenities + srevices (like schools and police) in the area, and no activities to prevent the forming of building gangs makes these a far, far more dangerous place than any new urbanism place could be. These systems can be run well, like in NYC, but it's at best difficult to do.

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I don't really think it's a formula for crime. Naturally, these are more upscale communities for the most part, and that money attracts crime, but it's not the layout or concept of them per se that breeds the crime.

A formula for crime would be the massive Projects built in the '40's-'60's, the most notorious of which were the late Robert Taylor homes in Chicago. Lax screening, lots of concrete with little or no open green space, few amenities + srevices (like schools and police) in the area, and no activities to prevent the forming of building gangs makes these a far, far more dangerous place than any new urbanism place could be. These systems can be run well, like in NYC, but it's at best difficult to do.

Concentrating poverty has a terrible effect on the poor. Newer mixed use apartments where some of the residents can get federal assistance are a huge improvement.

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^And I cannot understand for the life of me why some are quick to label the latter as "social engineering" but not the former--the worst social engineering experiment of the 20th century IMO.

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A formula for crime would be the massive Projects built in the '40's-'60's, the most notorious of which were the late Robert Taylor homes in Chicago. Lax screening, lots of concrete with little or no open green space, few amenities + srevices (like schools and police) in the area, and no activities to prevent the forming of building gangs makes these a far, far more dangerous place than any new urbanism place could be. These systems can be run well, like in NYC, but it's at best difficult to do.

In regards to Chicago, NYC has Co-Op city. Now, thats a dangerous place to be.

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Never heard of Co-OpCity. Any good places where I could read up on it?

Before I found an alternate route to the NJ Turnpike, I used to always drive past Co-Op City on trips back south from Boston. It's really an odd sight.

Here's a link to Co-Op City's unofficial site: LINK

rbay_aerial.jpg

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Co-op City reminds me of European sprawl. It's very high density cause the buildings house so many people, yet its built in a very spread out, sprawling manner with huge spaces between buildings. Much like the sprawl that engulfs parts of Italy.

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Co-op City reminds me of European sprawl. It's very high density cause the buildings house so many people, yet its built in a very spread out, sprawling manner with huge spaces between buildings. Much like the sprawl that engulfs parts of Italy.

I'm inclined to think European-style sprawl is inspired by Le Corbusier's "radiant city" philosophy: tall buildings surrounded by green pastures and multi-lane boulevards, high in density with an excellent skyline, but not very walkable. It's pretty much the same thing at Co-Op City, except the "green pastures" thing is supplanted with a great deal of parking. Such is life in America.

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I'm inclined to think European-style sprawl is inspired by Le Corbusier's "radiant city" philosophy: tall buildings surrounded by green pastures and multi-lane boulevards, high in density with an excellent skyline, but not very walkable. It's pretty much the same thing at Co-Op City, except the "green pastures" thing is supplanted with a great deal of parking. Such is life in America.

Exactly! Though most people living in Co-op City don't even own cars, so I wonder why we need all that parking. Oh that's right, like you said, such is life in America.

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Does New Urbanism cause crime? No more then guns kill people. Isn't it funny how the people making this assertion are the same ones that state "guns don't kill people, people kill people"? I guess logic only works when it supports your preconcieved notions of reality...how else do you explain the popularity of FOX News? :D

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This so called "defensible space" design paradigm has no business in a new urban discussion. Personally I believe terms like "defensible space" are fear mongering terms instigated by airport security minded entreprenuers looking for community business. Like the architecture crime in new urban communities is solved organically and not by outsourced secarchitects.

In my inner city new urban neighborhood there is a crime problem that is thoughtfully being cured, avoided and displaced. Individuals and not policy are making change which allows for balance. Algorithm and best practices can not involve the community. Big plans, big thinking just like big roofs can not be used to cookie cut the new urban neighborhood.

I imagine one of those newly developed "shiney new urban" commnunites would be a great audience for defensible space and articles like this would surely get nods of approval from everyone in the community.

Brad

A lot of Defensible Space has to do with line of sight...bushes strategically placed to prevent someone from having access to window from the outside...things of that nature.

As crime/gangs have spread to suburbia, it seems that dead ends and cul-de-sacs are good places for abandoned properties and drug houses. It's not science but just what I've observed.

I tend to think that cookie cutter subdivisions will breed more crime. There is nothing to differentiate the homes. The homes are cluttered together with nothing aesthetically appealing. No sidewalks...a few sick pine trees. The values will stagnate and some will drop as either more identical/newer housing is built or more attractive houses are built or redeveloped.

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I think it depends on how well a New Urbanist Development is designed. Good design will stand the test of time while a bad design will be tomorrow

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